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Schwartz, C. (2006). The Meaning of Silence for the Holocaust Child Survivor: The Role of Family Romanceand Rescue Fantasies. Psychoanal. Rev., 93(6):903-922.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Review, 93(6):903-922

The Meaning of Silence for the Holocaust Child Survivor: The Role of Family Romanceand Rescue Fantasies

Charlotte Schwartz, MSS, LCSW

History is no stranger to human aggression, yet, the Holocaust (1940-1945), a magnum opus of deliberately planned destruction, defies comprehension. Historians, philosophers, and social scientists have tried to make sense of this disaster. Psychoanalysts, likewise, have contributed an impressive literature to an understanding of individual behavior and group dynamics during the Nazi tyranny and its aftermath (Bergmann, 1982; Kestenberg, 1980; Krystal, 1988; Niederland, 1981; Ostow, 1982; Pines, 1986).

Much has changed in the past sixty years. Individual survivors who previously maintained. an “epic silence” have begun to speak, to acknowledge the horrors, the trauma, and losses that they experienced. The world, albeit reluctantly, has acknowledged its crimes and denials of this catastrophic event. In spite of this change, we have a history of shattered lives among the survivors, and serious difficulties for their children (Yale Holocaust Video Archives; Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota).

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